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Cleaning Lens Rubber
Posted By: nanhi, 08-03-2016, 09:13 PM

A lens has lots of rubber - on the zoom, focus and other rings. In time they get very dirty with oil from finger foods, dust, dirt, grime, moisture etc. If not cleaned off immediately the rubber will deteriorate at a much faster rate.
Plus you will be surprised how much bacteria the rubber has attracted. The bacteria plus oil & grime have a great time hiding beneath the ridges which all lens rubber have. Cleaning with cloth or camel hair brush will not help as they don't do a deep clean between those ridges.
So don't throw away your old tooth brush. Give it a good clean with liquid detergent and water + some bleach to disinfect it. Now wet the brush. Soak up the excess wetness with a clean cloth.
If the lens rubber is very badly soiled, ad just a wee bit of liquid detergent to the water - just a wee bit please. Cover the lens with front & rear caps. Scrub the lens rubber in both X & Y axis directions with the tooth brush. Clean the brush with the detergent water, remove the excess wetness and scrub the lens rubber again.
Finish off with the brush dipped in clean water - at least two passes.
And finally dry the rubber with a clean cloth.
Photographs turn out much better & more colorful with clean gear - some kind of magic for sure.
Try it, it will cost you just 12 minutes of your time. And I do it sitting on my bed or the dining table - safety against nimble fingers, in case the lens gets dropped!!??
Regards happy Pentaxians.
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08-05-2016, 07:16 AM   #16
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Bleach damages rubber. They pour it on dragster slicks (tires) to make them more sticky for more traction. It destroys the tires, but dragster tires are only used for seconds at a time. If they only get 10-20 miles out of set of tires, it really doesn't matter to drag racers.

Alcohol also damages rubber, but on rare occasion a swab or bit of cotton cloth *lightly* dampened with alcohol can be wiped over rubber lens grip surfaces. Some distilled water could be used most of the time. Since it won't dry as quickly as alcohol, it is even more important to keep it away from any place where it can seep into cracks. A very few drops of detergent per gallon of distilled water, would lower the surface tension of the water and lessen any capillary action that would draw it into the lens. Again, only very lightly dampen whatever you are using to do the cleaning.

If I had a lens with deteriorating rubber components, I would lightly apply some of the "Rubber Drive Wheel Cleaner" sold on the auction site for use on tape recorder pinch rollers and record turntable rubber idler drive tires. However, I would apply it much more sparingly on a lens grip than in its intended applications. It is a good product which seems to stop and even slightly reverse rubber deterioration -- very important for rubber parts that are difficult to replace.

I can't imagine ever using a toothbrush on any camera. I can't imagine buying any camera that I knew had ever been cleaned with a toothbrush.

I don't think I will ever worry about the surfaces of a camera being entirely bacteria free...unless I am preparing a camera to give it to someone who has no immune system whatsoever. Sounds just a bit too HowardHughesian to me. Think for a minute: you can completely disinfect your camera and then carry it into any room or the big outdoors, and minutes later it will have thousands of grains of spores, cysts, pollen, and dust on it from just sitting in the air -- without you even handling it. We live in a biologically rich world.


Last edited by goatsNdonkey; 08-05-2016 at 07:24 AM.
08-05-2016, 08:07 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by goatsNdonkey Quote
I can't imagine ever using a toothbrush on any camera. I can't imagine buying any camera that I knew had ever been cleaned with a toothbrush.
The OP was discussing using a toothbrush on the rubber surface of lenses, not on cameras.

I use a Giottos blower to clean the grooves on the rubber on my lenses; but I can see lightly using a very soft bristle toothbrush (a new one!) to clean the grooves of the rubber on lenses; but of course not on my cameras!
08-30-2016, 01:40 PM   #18
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Re-opening a thread here, but just in case anyone happens across it like I just did...

My own cleaning regimen usually involves a damp, lint-free microfibre cloth to wipe over the camera and lens housing (and all my other equipment). Every few months, I'll use a few lint-free alcohol lens wipes to do a stronger clean of the outer surfaces, controls and switches, as well as the mounts on my lenses and bodies. I use a cocktail stick or plastic toothpick to push the lens wipe into crevices or grooves of ribbed rubber grips and rings. A dust blower gets rid of any debris on my lenses, or lurking inside connection ports.

That's it. No detergent, no scrubbing with a toothbrush. Just a gentle wipe to keep everything clean, and an occasional deeper clean with alcohol lens wipes...
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